Head of the Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GUY-EITI), Dr. Rudy Jadoopat, is of the firm view that the legislature needs to effectively carry out its three core functions – oversight, representation and lawmaking – so that Guyana can have an EITI process.
EITI is a global standard for transparency in the extractives sector. It centres on the reconciliation of company payments with government receipts and disclosure of that information to the public. The goal is to identify potential discrepancies between payments and receipts and investigate and address the underlying causes.
Carrying out their representation function, Jadoopat said that legislators can help shape the EITI programme and make certain that it reflects a broad range of interests.
He said, “They may become involved in EITI multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs), and can help ensure that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) committed to resource transparency are involved and active in the MSG. Through public hearings, interviews with the media, constituent outreach, and other methods, legislators can build public awareness about EITI and the problems it identifies, and influence public opinion for holding the government accountable.”
Acting in its lawmaking capacity, Jadoopat said that the legislature can ensure that the government signs on to and participates meaningfully in the EITI process. In this regard, Jadoopat explained that several countries have run into legal obstacles stalling EITI implementation, and a revision of the laws has been required.
He said, “Our Parliamentarians can ensure these laws are changed in a way that reflects and reinforces the transparency required through EITI. In fact, our laws are weak in this regard. All of them and so there would be a needed to make the necessary changes very soon. We are behind.”
In his interview with Guyana Standard, Jadoopat said that legislatures are empowered to scrutinize government activities, to ensure that programs are implemented effectively and legally, and that allocated funds are accounted for. By skillfully using its question period in Special Committees, Jadoopat said that Guyana’s Parliamentarians can help make certain EITI is managed well, that EITI reports are issued on time, are accurate and published widely. Once a report has been released, Jadoopat said that legislators can ensure that the results are widely publicized and that the government addresses discrepancies and shortcomings.